Posterior thigh compartment syndrome as a result of a basketball injury

Orthopedics. 2009 Dec;32(12):923. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20091020-19.


Acute compartment syndrome of the thigh is a serious although rare occurrence that was sparsely documented in the orthopedic literature until Schwartz et al reported on a series of 21 cases. Although classically associated with high-energy femur fracture, thigh contusion, or the use of military anti-shock trousers, compartment syndrome of the thigh has recently been diagnosed in seemingly low-energy injuries. A complete hamstring avulsion from its ischial origin during routine ambulation and rupture of the quadriceps tendon after a low-energy fall have been shown to result in compartment syndrome. In light of the potential medicolegal ramifications surrounding the diagnosis of compartment syndrome, emergency room consultations to rule out compartment syndrome are on the rise. Specifically, the time to fasciotomy was found to be linearly related to indemnity payment, and a fasciotomy performed within 8 hours was uniformly associated with a successful defense. This article describes a case of a 29-year-old healthy man who developed posterior thigh compartment syndrome as a result of an intrasubstance tear of the biceps femoris muscle sustained while attempting a lay-up during a recreational basketball game. His posterior thigh compartment pressure measured 70 mm Hg and he required emergent posterior thigh compartment fasciotomy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basketball / injuries*
  • Compartment Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Compartment Syndromes / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Leg Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Leg Injuries / surgery*
  • Male
  • Thigh / injuries*
  • Treatment Outcome